365 Days of Blogging: Personal Writing Challenge ACCEPTED

I woke up late on New Year’s Day and thought about this blog and about being a writer and all of the things that that means. I want writing to be a daily habit (it nearly is). Why not challenge myself to write a blog post a day for the next 365 days? Make 2015 my Year of Blogging Dangerously? accepted2

I debated keeping it to myself, but if I post it, maybe that will keep me honest. :D

So there you go, Internet. I am unleashing my inner authorly Kraken.

Brace yourselves! IMG_4589 IMG_4766 IMG_4904

Sometimes, just sleep.

Yesterday, after a poor night of sleeping (3 or 4 hours before getting up to fetch hubby from work at 5 am — and then yes, we did have a snow day, so I got an extra half hour before heading to my own job), and taking the kids to their skating lesson, I crashed hard and laid down for some peace and quiet around 7:30, having decided to skip going to the Santa Claus parade (to the severe disappointment of my daughter). Stretching out turned into falling asleep and there I stayed until well after 1 pm today. And after that, I had a headache that wouldn’t go away until just q few hours ago. Probably withdrawal from the unusual amount of caffeine I had yesterday in order to get through . . .

Had an odd dream about going to Florida and staying in a grubby, overpriced, knick-knack-filled hotel with rooms like rabbit warrens. There was poop and water leakage all over, too. Some of the guests were mysteriously similar to the seven dwarfs and Snow White and Prince Charming, which might mean I’ve been watching too much OUAT. 

But OUAT is an escape that works for me right now. 

But it didn’t work for me this afternoon. Just felt terribly drained and apathetic. And all I wanted to do was sleep. 

Jinxed again?

Well, it seems that perhaps the energy of so many people wondering aloud whether tomorrow might be a snow day has done its work — Old Man Winter and Jack Frost are playing games, having heard the hopes and pleas for a break, and blown the storm front further south. Snowfall has diminished accordingly, and the freezing rain and ice pellets ended earlier than expected. Good news for those who must travel the roads! Bad news for students who wanted to sleep in and teachers and staff looking forward to a bonus day of prep and marking. 

Oh, well. There will be others. At least tomorrow is Friday. 


Oooh, sudden thought! I should start a Snow Day pool of sorts — perhaps a BINGO card set? Might make it more fun, whether we win or lose!

Snow Days

The first rule of Snow Days: you don’t talk about Snow Days. 

The second rule of Snow Days? You do not talk about Snow Days.

We’re back in the season of perpetual hope — no, not the jolly Yuletide kind, but the kind that has teachers and students alike checking and double-checking forecasts, listening to the radio first thing in the morning, and updating the school board’s online bus information every few minutes, waiting to see if a miracle has happened and we get an unplanned break in the routine. 

We get an average of eight snow days a year where I live, and that can include cold days, when the temperatures in late January and through February can dip so low that the Celsius and Farhenheit thermometres agree and Diesel engines won’t start. But right now, we’ve got a late period of winter storms coming, mixes of rain and snow and freezing temps that could make driving treacherous and force the cancellation of the buses.

So we are waiting. And tonight, the wind is howling, pushed by a weather system that may hold some nastiness in store for us. 

There are a lot of superstitions or traditions that go along with snow days. People say that to bring one on, you should wear your pyjamas inside out (or backwards), or put a spoon under your pillow. The surest way to jinx a snow day, though, is to talk about it in advance. 

But it’s so hard not to speculate, isn’t it? Especially after a long, mostly dark month with few breaks, the cold (and this year, damp as well as chill) grind that is November. The possibility of an easing of the load for a day is delightful, and many of us in classrooms take full advantage of it to get things done. I know some parents do struggle with snow days, though, and it’s not always safe or possible to get the kids to their schools on their own when the weather is bad. Snow days mean figuring out child care or even missed work, if the child cannot get to the school. I’m one of the lucky ones — I can bring mine to work with me, and I’ve done so in the past. And for the past year, one has been old enough to look after the other through the day, with phone calls and drop-ins to double-check, which is an amazing relief.

A lot of people are already anticipating bus cancellations on Friday. I’m trying not to think too much about it, to let it be a pleasant surprise. But at the same time, I’m listening to that wind, checking the forecast, and liking the idea of a lighter day.

After all, I’ve already broken the first rule.

Sexism: learned early, learned well

My almost-10-year-old daughter wore her pink, white-polka-dotted bowtie to school this morning. Why? 

But after the day was over, she came to me, perplexed, sans bowtie because her friends (male and female) had told her that girls can’t wear bowties, except in their hair or on a belt. 

I looked her straight in the eye and told her they were wrong. Girls can wear what they want, and so can boys. 

It continues to amaze me how much children compartmentalize, and I know it’s partly biological. Our brains do it because it’s a survival instinct. Opening up the box to look at other possible ways of being doesn’t come naturally to everyone — I think it needs to be nurtured. Sexism is a learned attitude and behaviour as much as racism and other negative -isms. The question is: who is going to have (or has had) the most constructive influence on my daughter’s understandings of social roles, appearances, and acceptance of others — us, or her friends? Because I’m well aware of the power of friends’ opinions and judgements at that age, and the hits they can put on a tender, growing sense of self. And it seems lately that more than a few times, Bridget has come home saying that a friend told her she can’t do this or she shouldn’t do that, when her decisions and actions were perfectly valid, such as including her bestie (who goes to a different school) to her birthday party. 

I’m going to continue as I’ve always done for the last decade: celebrate both her feminity and her power as a girl, build her confidence in her knowledge of herself and what she likes, encourage her to explore, and never mind what kids might say to try to rein her in or pull her down. I will keep reminding her of and offering her the choices that our mothers and grandmothers fought for, and help her to tie her bowties. There is no way in hell that I’m going to let grade 4 sexism confine my amazing daughter to a box.

In which my return to skating continues

At the beginning of November, a friend of mine convinced me to sign up for a trial session of five skating lessons for adults. The last time I was on skates was several years ago, during a staff-student hockey game, when I fell on the only non-padded, unprotected body part I could have — my tailbone. 

It happened in slow motion: first the left foot slipping out from under me, and then my right blade losing its stability; the look on my colleague’s face as he turned, watching helplessly, while gravity did its thing . . . I knew I was going to hit before I started to fall.

So getting back on the ice has been a real test for me. I took lessons when I was little, but I don’t remember learning how to stop on the ice, and if I had learned it, I forgot. I never remember having been able to stop in more than two unskilled ways: drifting gracefully into (read: hitting at speed) the boards, or gliding until the laws of  brought me to a halt. That’s usually when I would fall, actually. And there’s a lot of me to smack down, too. 

But I haven’t fallen yet. That’s something I can feel good about. 

(Example: one of the earlier lessons, on November 4.)

There was a long gap in time between age twelve, the last time I skated as a kid, and getting a pair of inexpensive hockey skates when my kids were younger so I could move around on the ice with them. But some of what I used to know is definitely coming back, and more — I’m learning.

I can stop, now.

I can two-foot scully forward and back, plus skating backward confidently (most of the time).

I can glide on one foot, and today, I even did a one-footed spin — twice!

My strokes are improving, as is my posture, and today, I was able to do crossovers. Crossovers! While moving!

I am so grateful to my friend for getting me to do this. I’ve been finding myself looking forward to my twice-weekly lessons, and even though the first twenty minutes were painful (shin splints! Foot cramps!) and I have been feeling it afterward with shaky muscles, I’ve also felt the endorphins. Skating is helping with my depression.

Just kind of stinks that I’m the only one in the class, now. 

But it also feels good to be doing something new, for me, and for my kids.

39 days of blogging left — am starting to crumble

Missed another day again. Slept a lot while the first major snowfall of the year was coming down, and then slept again today. Watched Jessica Jones in between, mostly with the teenager. 

Friends on Facebook are already posting pictures of their Christmas trees going up. Not feeling it at all. Just another weekend of staring at four walls, knitting my scarf, and not much else.